Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir / TPS
Intelligence & Transport Minister Yisrael Katz

Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Yisrael Katz called on Israeli Arab Knesset members during a radio interview Monday to condemn violence overnight against police in Kfar Qasem.

The riots, which included stone-throwing and torching a number of police vehicles, led to the death of a resident there after a civilian security guard allegedly panicked when defending himself.


By morning, Israel Police had set up checkpoints at the entrance to the community following the night of violence, in order to “maintain public order.”

Speaking in an interview on Israeli Army Radio, Katz condemned the riot, saying an attack by “hundreds of people” on police and law enforcement is “clearly unacceptable.”

He added, “I expect the Arab Knesset Members to also take this line. They stand up in the Knesset, and they say they want law enforcement against crime and lawlessness – but it’s impossible to have it both ways.”

In fact, that is precisely what members of the Joint Arab List did on Monday, calling for tighter law enforcement — yet on Tuesday, not one had condemned the violence.

In a separate statement, MK Dov Khenin said Tuesday that he had spoken only a day earlier on the floor of the Knesset about the “out of control” gun situation in Arab towns.

“Only a sharp change in police policies vis-à-vis Arab citizens can restore [the community’s trust and prevent a repeat of the serious, sad riots we saw last night in Kfar Qasem,” said Khenin, a member of the lefist mixed Hadash party, part of the Joint Arab List faction.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List and chairman of the Hadash party, added, “The police are adding insult to injury not only by abandoning our security, the streets of our cities, and by refusing to investigate our murder cases…then [they] attack and harm civilians.

“The police continue to treat the Arab population as enemies to be protected from, not as civilians to be defended . . . The least the police can do now is to allow residents to protest as they please without the police themselves endangering them and their safety,” Odeh said.

Meanwhile there has been a deafening silence, at least publicly, from the Israeli Arab party members of the Joint List faction.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.